In April, the Cafe Club extended their territory to Lygon Street, East Brunswick. Bar Idda - the new hip Italian on the block. And very popular it is too. Indeed so popular that you have to choose which sitting you want - 6.30pm or 8.30pm. None of this choosing a time to suit you and staying as long as you like stuff. No this is all about - get the food, have the experience, and go -- hopefully in time for the next batch of punters not to know that you have been there sitting in their seats only seconds before they arrive.
The food is excellent, and the service is friendly, knowledgeable and prompt. But really is this what an Italian Cafe/ Restaurant is all about? I mention this because on Saturday, I went to another Italian Cafe/Restaurant not too far away in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, L'Osteria, the place has been there for over 20 years and the food is to coin a well used foodie phrase - rustic. But what hits you about L'Osteria and what is missing at Cafe Ida - is the sense of local eatery. That this is, a place that local people walk to, a place for the whole family, Mum, Dad, Nonna and the kids. On Saturday night at L'Osteria nearly every table was occupied by a family- with at least one Nonna. Mother's Day being the next day may have had something to do with this. But somehow I think that even without this much loved celebratory day, L' Osteria, like numerous Italian establishments in the area (Red Olive?) would have been places that welcomed the whole family.
Not so at Bar Idda - unless of course you were a very hip young family with good time keeping skills. No, this is a place for people who want to eat at the new chic spot. The food is yummy. And it is a place to be seen. But is is not a place to settle in, with a group of friends, for a night of easy conversation and plenty of red. For that - go to one of the many family owned and run Italian cafes in the area. They will welcome your patronage and to show you how much they enjoyed having you there, don't be surprised if at the end of the evening they give you a complementary limoncello or grappa.